Body Types & Jiu-Jitsu – Advantages and Difficulties

No two people are alike in this world. There will always be some differences between our body types. Someone will be shorter, someone will have longer arms. Someone will be naturally stronger, and someone else will be more flexible. There is nothing we can do about it, in this regard we cannot change our bodies. We will not magically lengthen our legs or add a few centimeters of height to ourselves. So we have to stop comparing ourselves to others when it comes to such immutable things as the height or length of the limbs. Rather it is better to focus on getting the most out of your body type. 

That’s why below more about:

  • 3 main body types 
  • What are the pros and difficulties related to each of the body types?
  • Is there a best body type for BJJ?
  • BJJ game that fits your body type

Main body types

Most people are unique combinations of the three main body types: ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph. These types, otherwise known as somatotypes, have been used by doctors, nutritionists, and coaches since the 1940s for making better, individualized more effective training plans. It is just worth remembering that hardly anyone belongs to one type purely, because these are generalizations and that most of us have characteristics of two or even all three somatotypes. However, it does not change the fact that it is worth knowing these types and finding out which of them is our dominant one. 


Ectomorphs often weigh below average for their height and are lean. They tend to metabolize quickly and have problems with gaining weight. Ectomorphs easily lose body fat but at the same time have difficulty building muscle mass. They need a special diet to maintain or gain weight

Appearance characteristics

  • Slim body
  • A small amount of body fat
  • Narrow shoulders and hips 
  • Narrow shoulders and collarbones
  • Leaking joints (wrist/ankle joints)
  • Thin build
  • Long muscle crunches
  • Long limbs
  • Small chests and buttocks


  • Fast metabolism
  • They can eat whatever they want
  • They fill up quickly


  • They have difficulty building muscle mass
  • They have difficulty gaining weight


A mesomorph is someone between an ectomorph and an endomorph and therefore exhibits the characteristics of both. Athletic, solid, and strong, not overweight and not underweight. Easily builds muscle mass and keeps slim despite high caloric intake. Bone structure is larger than that of the endomorph, but the percentage of body fat is similar to that of the ectomorph.

Appearance characteristics

  • Wide collarbones – as are the shoulders
  • Symmetrical structure
  • Narrow waist
  • Slimmer joints
  • Long and round muscle crunches
  • Small waist circumference
  • Little body fat
  • Large muscles


  • gain and lose weight without too much effort


Endomorph body type is the complete opposite of the ectomorph. Endomorphs are larger in appearance, with more body fat and less visible muscles. It is very difficult for an endomorph to shed body fat, even with a lot of strict diets, training programs, and plenty of cardio, but building muscle mass is not a big challenge for them.

Appearance characteristics

  • Heavy construction
  • Thick ribs
  • Wide / thicker joints
  • Hips as wide or wider as the collarbones
  • Short limbs
  • A large amount of accumulated fat
  • A large skeleton


  • Easily gaining weight
  • Losing weight is hard

How to recognize your body type?

Look in the mirror – what is most visible about your body:

A: bones;

B: muscles;

C: fat.

Compare the width of the shoulders to the hips, they are:

A: narrower than the shoulders;

B: similar width;

C: wider than shoulders.

What is your body type:

A: pencil (tube);

B: hourglass or the letter V;

C: pear or apple.

What suits you best:

A: I have a problem with putting on extra pounds;

B: I can easily lose weight and gain weight;

C: I gain weight easily, but I have trouble losing the extra pounds.

If you stop training for several months, your body:

A: it becomes bonier and the muscles are less visible;

B: no significant changes can be seen;

C: the body becomes more rounded, you gain weight.

How do you feel after a large carbohydrate meal (e.g. pizza):

A: I feel the same as after any other type of meal;

B: I feel similar, although my stomach feels full quickly;

C: I feel more tired and sluggish.

How do you react to physical activity:

A: I avoid strength training, prefer aerobic activities.

B: I love sports and I have no problem with any activity, muscles become visible quickly;

C: I have to train regularly and put in a lot of effort to see the results.

If you chose the most A – answers, your predominant body type is ectomorph, if B – mesomorph, and if C – endomorph.

Best body type for BJJ

Many people wonder what is the best body type to train BJJ. However, there is no one best body type suitable for jiu jitsu. Thanks to the fact that BJJ is so diverse, each of the somatotypes will find itself in it. All you need to do is recognize your dominant body type and start developing your BJJ according to it.

Right BJJ game for your body type

Your body type plays a very important role in building your BJJ game. For your jiu jitsu to be as effective as possible it should be adapted to your physical conditions. For example, if you are short and stocky good techniques for you are butterfly guard and guillotines. And on the other hand, techniques intended for those with long limbs, such as triangles, spider guard, or de la Riva will be harder for you. So instead of copying tall people who have the right length and good distance for such techniques, it is better to adapt your BJJ game to your body type.


Ectomorphs are usually smaller and physically weaker. They often lack large muscles and strength. This does not mean, however, that the world of BJJ is not for them. Grappler whose predominant body type is ectomorph due to their slim build is usually faster and more agile than other somatotypes. And thanks to this they are able to often win even against bigger and stronger opponents. So if you mainly see the features of an ectomorph in yourself, focus on developing your agility, speed, good condition, and polishing your technique.


A mesomorph is the typical athletic body type. This body type is very balanced with many advantages. It is not a type as extreme as the other two somatotypes. And this has advantages and disadvantages at the same time. On the one hand, being such ‘in between’ allows you as a mesomorphic grappler to create a fairly versatile game. However, on the other hand, mesomorphs will never be naturally as fast and agile as ectomorphs or as strong as endomorphs. So if you are primarily a mesomorphic grappler, it’s good to pay attention to how to make your game more comprehensive and which elements of your game are defective and focus on refining them.


Endomorphs are usually larger and slower. However, it does not necessarily mean anything wrong and should exclude such a person from being an athlete. The bulk related to this body type can be converted into muscle and used to increase overall strength. So if you are an endomorphic grappler, learn how to compensate for your lack of agility, how to distribute your mass well, and focus on using your weight and strength appropriately.